Home » Opinion » Editorials
'Problematic': The virtue of the city tax cap
Speaking at last Wednesday's meeting of the city Charter Commission, Sanders said, "This dual cap and revenue equation, which is so hard and arcane, will be a challenge in the future, a very serious challenge."
He continued: "As long as state funding stays flat and expenses keep going up, if we can't raise property taxes - if the aldermen don't have the option to do that, or don't have the political will - there will have to be a cost reduction in other areas."
To sum up: The cap, twice approved by voters, limits both tax and spending increases. That, says Sanders, will result in "a cost reduction" if "aldermen don't have the option" or "the political will" to override the cap. To this, one might add, "Yes, and?"
Before Frank Guinta was elected mayor, Manchester taxpayers endured six straight years of tax increases.
In just the four years from 2001-2005, Manchester's tax rate rose by 20.5 percent. Angered by the arrogance of a city government that asserted without apology that spending, and the taxes to fund it, simply had to rise every year, voters approved a tax and spending cap. A coalition of unions and pro-spending activists got the cap struck down in court, and voters quickly approved another one. This in a city dominated politically by Democrats.
The cap does allow spending and taxes to exceed the rate of inflation and population growth - but only by the vote of 10 aldermen. Voters installed that emergency release valve for ... emergencies. Sanders suggested dropping the required supermajority from 10 to 8, thus loosening the valve. In a city that routinely elects more than eight members of one political party to the Board of Mayor and Aldermen, this would change the cap from a restraint to a suggestion.
The voters put the cap in place - twice - to do exactly what Sanders complains it will do: force city officials to cut the budget so the people don't have to cut theirs.
The tax cap is "problematic" for city officials by design - because without it, constant tax increases are problematic for everyone else.
READER COMMENTS: 0
- Wheeler in Dist. 5: A GOP fighter for the little guy - 2
- GOP for legal pot? Hemignway's high help - 12
- Obama's indecision: In NH, only Ayotte urges action - 43
- Concealed controversy: Our 'Mother, may I' gun policy - 37
- Innis in the 1st: A strong choice for Congress - 10
- Obama waits: A terror threat grows - 41
- For U.S. Senate, Scott Brown best NH candidate come November - 71
- Race and policing: America has a problem - 0
- Strength in faith: Gaining it from Jim Foley's family - 0
READER COMMENTS: 0
- NHIAA Boys' Soccer Preview: Talent to boot - 0
- Last call at home for Fisher Cats tonight - 0
- Jessica Goldman was on the move - 0
- Band camp gets Memorial musicians in rhythm a week early - 0
- Drew Cline: Small sleights of hand in Republican primaries around NH - 0
- Where is Shaheen? Hiding from you - 0
- Scott and Genevieve Kelley - 0
- Dan Tuohy's Granite Status: Shaheen takes on illegal immigration - 0
- Market Basket deal reached; Arthur T. Demoulas to return - 2
Reports: Market Basket doomsday plan would shutter 61 of 71 stores if deal not struck soon
GOP for legal pot? Hemignway's high help
Ohio's Rob Portman: GOP can win back Senate